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Solomon Islands will not switch diplomatic allegiance to China: MOFA

2019/06/05 21:50:06

MOFA spokesperson Andrew Lee, CNA file photo

Taipei, June 5 (CNA) A majority in the Solomon Islands' parliament supports maintaining diplomatic relations with Taiwan, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said Wednesday, in the wake of a British media report that said the new Solomon Islands government would decide within 100 days whether to ditch Taipei in favor of Beijing.

According to the Guardian newspaper, the timeframe for the decision was set out by Solomon Islands Foreign Minister Jeremiah Manele during a meeting with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Monday.

Asked to comment on the news report that was published Wednesday, MOFA spokesperson Andrew Lee (李憲章) said most members of the Solomon Islands' 50-seat parliament support their country's diplomatic ties with Taiwan.

The cordial bilateral relationship was exemplified by a tour of the Taiwanese supply vessel the Panshih by Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare and his Cabinet on May 8, when the Taiwan Navy's Fleet of Friendship made a port call in the Solomon Islands, Lee said.

The MOFA spokesman also said that the 100-day timeframe mentioned in the news report was referring to Sogavare administration's "100-Days Policy Framework Document," which lays out the government proprieties for various types of reforms within 100 days.

The Guardian article was the latest among a string of reports over the past few months that have quoted several incumbent or former Solomon Islands politicians as saying that the Pacific country was considering changing diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China soon.

The Solomon Islands forged formal relations with Taiwan in March 1983 and remains one of 17 countries that maintain diplomatic ties with Taiwan.

(By Joseph Yeh)